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The Sleep of Monday Produces Murder

What I've Finished Reading

Death of an Expert Witness by P. D. James. This book is neither funny nor suspenseful, but it has a pleasant pace and a reasonably good style. We get a tour of all the people who might want the victim dead, and then the corpse - a different corpse from the corpse that opened the book, this one is the titular expert witness. He's got secrets; they've all got secrets. Some of the secrets are painful and embarrassing in a mundane way and some of them are gothic. They are collected by a pair of perfectly serviceable professional detectives whom it is not necessary to tell apart. In conclusion, living is awful and death is tedious and humiliating. It was all right! I'm glad I was able to finish a P. D. James again, and maybe one day I'll read another one.

Thus Was Adonis Murdered by Sarah Caudwell takes a very different approach to life and death. This is the kind of book I thought all mysteries were going to be when I first started reading mysteries: a tongue-in-cheek puzzle-comedy about the leisurely pursuit of justice over assorted liqueurs. A hapless young lawyer goes on vacation to Venice and accidentally winds up with a corpse in her bed, but her friends back in London know she's far too clumsy to have killed a man. Luckily, they are able to figure out what happened by reading her letters to one another at their favorite bar. These friends all talk alike to the point of being basically indistinguishable, but there's never any real need to distinguish them so it doesn't matter. The constant impenetrable archness could easily go wrong, but I don't think it actually does. It's a lot of fun.

What I'm Reading Now

Began Common Murder, an earlier Val McDermid than Conferences Can Be Murder - here Lindsay Gordon's dead girlfriend is still alive, and an ex-flame has just turned up disconcertingly. I hope this doesn't mean we're in for a love triangle. As Matthew Arnold once said, "All this murder is bad enough."

What I Plan to Read Next

Christie time again! I got The Thirteen Problems from the library (the one I'm going to have to order is The Hand of Death, which doesn't seem to be anywhere). And Crime and Punishment, an old favorite - I'm re-reading it because I'm finally going to get to The Gentle Axe.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 17th, 2017 12:05 pm (UTC)
Last year I read The Mistletoe Murders, a collection of four short Christmas-themed mysteries by PD James. Three of them were fine (nowhere near as bleak as Expert Witness), and the fourth was an absolute delight: Dalgliesh finds himself stuck in a ridiculous vintage cosy with people being bumped off in the most absurd ways, finishing with a hint that he might be Miss Marple's book-writing nephew. If she wrote like that more often, I think I'd like James a lot more.
Apr. 17th, 2017 02:55 pm (UTC)
. . . That sounds completely delightful. I'm going to keep my eyes open for it next time I'm at a book sale (or the library). I'd love to see P. D. James having a good time!
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


blase ev

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